Father, let me know that at the heart of turbulence there is an inner calm that comes from faith in You.
Read Exodus 5:1-21
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“There are storms you are liable to encounter even on the path of duty and discipleship. Being a Christian is no insurance against calamity” (James S. Stewart).
Have you ever acted in accord with what you believed to be God’s will, only to find the situation made worse? How do you keep going, especially when colleagues criticize your actions and doubt your integrity? That was Moses’ experience in going to Pharaoh. The clash is evident immediately: Moses tells of the Lord’s desire for his people; for Pharaoh they are merely a labor force (2,4); for Moses, the people are commanded by the Lord to “hold a festival” to him and “offer sacrifices” (1,3). Still, Pharaoh is the one to give orders (4,6). He disdainfully asks, “Who is the Lord? I do not know the Lord” (2). Later the reason given for God’s action will be that Israel, Pharaoh and the people should “know that I am the Lord,” that “there is no one like the Lord our God.” (Exod. 8:10) Their future depends on how they respond to that knowledge.
For the present, however, Pharaoh lives with the delusion of power (6-9). He ridicules their faith and makes greater demands to show who is in control (17,18). The people blame Moses and Aaron who they see as having done wrong and facing judgment from the Lord (19-21).
We know how the situation is resolved, but what of us when we are in the middle of apparent failure and others criticize? There is a time for re-examination: have we misunderstood what God requires or have we acted arrogantly? There are occasions when our reading of Scripture provides clear guidance, along with the Spirit’s inner conviction, and often support of a trusted colleague (like Aaron). Sometimes a crisis is needed to bring necessary change. The lonely experiences of Moses—and of Jesus and Paul (John 6:66,67, 2 Tim. 4:9-11)—provide encouragement to continue, leaving it to God to act to make known his reality.
Are you, or is someone you know, facing a conflict situation? Pray for wisdom and perseverance, and that God’s name be honored in it.
Lord, I acknowledge that life presents me with many challenges. However, I know that You are with me and will guide me through the storms of life.
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